TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators: congratulations to the 2023 graduating class 

Black graphic image - TikTok-Accelerator-for-Indigenous-Creators
Abiola Agbayewa

Abiola Agbayewa

Programs Outreach Manager

The TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators wrapped in December 2023 with dozens of Indigenous content creators from across Canada participating in training. Presented by the National Screen Institute, the program offered free, online, part-time sessions over six weeks. It was developed with traditional and spiritual elements to empower Indigenous creators in growing their online presence and learning the essential skills for a thriving digital career. 

Returning program advisor Sherry Mckay (@sherry.mckay), an Ojibway Anishinabe creator from Treaty 1 Territory, led the training in collaboration with program co-managers Sarah Simpson-Yellowquill, a filmmaker from Long Plain First Nation on Treaty 1 Territory and Erica Wilson, a Saulteaux artist/community connector from Treaty 1 Territory. 

Guest speakers were invited to share their valuable insights with participants. Speakers included TikTok creators Keisha Erwin (@wapahkesis), Tope Babalola (@topebabalola), program alum Angela Aula (@inukbeauty) and James Jones (@notoriouscree) as well as media experts Kim Wheeler and Darrel Stranger. 

During 12 bi-weekly sessions, program participants received training in best practices, analytics, career building, creation/production, digital well-being and more. For the first time, the creators also attended an in-person gathering in Winnipeg. Highlights included networking, a well-being workshop led by Red Tent Winnipeg and a Visionary Voices panel.  

Congratulations to the graduates! Their achievements were celebrated on December 7 during an intimate sharing circle led by Sherry Mckay.  

Some of the creators have shared short reflections on their time in the program. Please read their words below. 

Olivia Hope Bishop – Winnipeg, MB 

This program created a safe, positive space for Indigenous content creators. The training provided me with information to be a successful Indigenous content creator.  


Isabelle Chapadeau – Iqaluit, NU 

The program … connect[ed] [me] with awesome content creators. We could learn from each other and feel that we [were] going through similar situations. I learned how to protect myself, how to balance my creativity, my little spark that I have while I do some content and my private life. This is how I can keep going and make sure that I prioritize my mental health.   

Indigenous peoples deserve to be seen and have a career online. We are the representation, and we can definitely see the impact on others. Also, the program helped [me understand]  some features [on] the app  that I did not know about. I loved having suggestions and ideas for future videos. It is motivating [and] rewarding and I am more than thankful I was a part of this beautiful program.   


Cora DeVos – Vermilion, AB 

This was a great program that will help me in the future to create positive content to help Inuit futures.  


Natasha Fisher – Toronto, ON 

I felt empowered and inspired by all the participants and presenters to continue creating and building an online community.  


Cashâ Foy – Smithers, BC 

I feel the program allowed me to get past the imposter syndrome that I was feeling before. I feel now I’ve passed it and know that I deserve good things as well. Training allowed me to focus more and I feel I’ve learned more in-depth [about] the analytics of posting and going live.  


Drea Halfe – Sherwood Park, AB 

It gave me the confidence to share my art. I have a better understanding onf how to move forward with my content.   


William Johnston-Jones – Neyaashiinigmiing, ON 

I’ve learned you get back what you put into your account, and this made me feel like I was part of something bigger than myself.
Just meeting other content creators on the same path as me really impacted me a lot. Just knowing they faced the same issues as me lifted my spirits greatly.  


Owen Lloyd – Edmonton, AB 

My experience in the program was great. I met some amazing people [and] learned new skills.  


Jocelyne McLean – New Hazelton, BC 

I learned about aspects of TikTok that I wouldn’t have given a second thought to like algorithms and how to navigate trolls, as well being mindful of giving out personal information that could possibly put you in danger (where you are located). I feel confident as a content creator. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting other content creators in person.   


Terren Pistun – Winnipeg, MB 

When we talked about imposter syndrome, I was surprised to see how many people felt that way (including me) and it was nice to see that even people you look up to are human and going through the same things as you. I’m glad I got to attend the in-person event. I feel I wouldn’t have been able to meet all these creators otherwise! Also, I needed it … [I] might not have realized until after but I needed that day in my life; all the laughs and new friends, even family I’ve found. Thank you.   


Chelsea Poirier – Clarendon, NB 

I learned valuable information such as editing, lighting, sound, etc. I learned about boundaries and how our safety could be compromised, as well as tips and tricks to prevent that.   

As a content creator going forward, I feel much more educated and creative. I learned how to use and utilize CapCut appropriately.  

The training impacted me in a variety of ways. It broadened my mind and knowledge, but it also gave me a foundation and [a] feeling of community. For the first time in a long time, I felt welcomed and safe.   


Marissa Prosper – Fisher’s Grant, NS 

Don’t be afraid to be the main character! If you don’t put yourself out there, who will? Throughout this program, we learned from creators who follow the same philosophy, even if it is subconsciously. They showed me that it is possible to be successful as a creator, but it starts with you!   


Zorga Qaunaq – Ottawa, ON 

The program helped build my confidence in content creation and management. I felt supported in learning, and it gave me the space to learn [things] that I would not have otherwise. I now feel I have the network and tools to succeed in a career as a content creator.   


Julian Robia – Timberlea, NS 

Overall, it was a positive experience! The people were lovely, and the in-person portion of the event was fun.  


Ira Timothy – Bothwell, ON 

I very much enjoyed learning how to better do lighting and position the camera. I learned some very helpful hints on making my videos more eye-catching, as well as not overloading my posts with hashtags. I found the inclusion of experts and the stories [they] shared [about] their experiences inspiring [and] motivational.  


Jennifer Toland – Prince George, BC 

I loved how welcomed we all felt as a group. You made each individual feel special and tried to answer each question that arose with experience and detail. The trip to meet everyone was excellent.   


Black Wolf Hart – York, ON 

I learned so much from the program I feel more confident when I post. The program gave me a lot of useful info.   


• • •

TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators, presented by the National Screen Institute, is made possible by TikTok Canada. The National Screen Institute’s Core Funders are Manitoba Sport, Culture, Heritage and Tourism and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.  

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